11/09/19 5:57am

I’ve come across several books about and related to the Long Island wine community over the years. My two favorites have been 2003’s “The Vineyard: The Pleasures and Perils of Creating an American Family Winery,” by Louisa Hargrave who founded our local wine region in the 1970s with her then-husband Alex, and more recently Eileen Duffy’s “Behind the Bottle: The Rise of Wine on Long Island.” READ

10/12/19 6:00am

The cellar crew processes the grapes from harvest at Bedell. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

I am compelled to write harvest reports every vintage — it is the biggest news in the region right now, after all — but it’s not something I particularly enjoy doing. Given how our weather varies from year to year and the fact that winemakers need people to buy the wines they make regardless of what that weather is like, it can be hard to get accurate assessments of how the grapes are coming in. (more…)

09/14/19 5:55am

Paumanok Vineyards sauvignon blanc. (Credit: David Benthal)

As the Long Island wine industry matures and changes over time, at least one unfortunate remnant of its past remains: “Long Island wines are overpriced.”

No, that’s not me saying it. But the people who pour time and money into the work of making the local wines we love so much still hear and read this with some regularity. (more…)

07/17/19 5:55am

A bottle of Bedell Cellars merlot. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

I’ve long been dubious with the idea of merlot — or any grape, really — being anointed the “signature variety” for Long Island wine country. But merlot does grow well here, meaning it ripens consistently. More consistently than varieties like cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. 

Growers know this. And they’ve known it for some time.  (more…)

05/11/19 6:00am

Credit: Vera Chinese

I don’t have an expansive wine cellar, but I do have one. It’s in a corner of our basement against an outside wall, where it stays mostly cool year-round. It’s also a disorganized disaster of a mess. And that might be understating the situation.

But, as I slowly try to dig through it and drink down my cellar to a more manageable size, I’ve found some real treasures — older local wines that in many cases I didn’t realize I had. I opened some with friends just to see how they were tasting. They varied in years from 1997 to 2006 and, while a couple of them were probably beyond their peak drinking, not a single one of them was what I’d call a clunker.

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04/20/19 5:55am

As I sit here writing this column, the sun is shining out over my messy backyard — our two dogs and our two kids have left it a mud pit — and the window is open for the first time. Spring has been slow to arrive, but it’s here and I’m definitely ready for it.

This time of year is a real sweet spot on the calendar: when it’s starting to get warmer, but before Memorial Day when the East End traffic ramps up and spending a day on the North Fork becomes a bit more laborious.

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